July 13, 2018 / 6:34 AM / 9 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies firm, India's rupee buoyed as oil prices ease

    * China's export data beats expectations amid trade row with
    * Yuan set for fifth weekly decline
    * Rupee up as inflation rises above RBI target and oil
prices fall

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Nikhil Nainan
    July 13 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies edged up
on Friday, shrugging off better-than-expected Chinese trade data
as markets took a breather from a volatile week of Sino-U.S.
trade tensions.
    Despite China's trade surplus coming in at its highest ever
for any single month, according to Reuters data going back to
2008, the Chinese yuan cooled after earlier advances.

    "The trade data, while is slightly better-than-expectations,
does pre-date the implementation of the tariffs and markets at
this stage are choosing to ignore the data because they are all
largely historical," said Khoon Goh, ANZ's head of Asia
    The crucial data here would be from July onwards to gauge
the impact of the tariffs on activities, Goh added. 
    Friday brings the culmination of a volatile week that saw
the U.S. threaten to impose new 10 percent tariffs on an
additional $200 billion in Chinese imports, and saw the yuan
depreciate for a fifth straight week.
    China's second quarter economic growth due at the start of
next week should provide a clearer indication of how the world's
second-biggest economy performed.
    The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against
a basket of six major rivals, was firmer in Asian trade and has
been benefiting all week from a flight to safety as investors
fret over trade conflict concerns. 
    Singapore's dollar was little changed at 1.364. Data
out earlier in the morning showed that economic growth missed
forecasts as worsening U.S.-China trade tensions clouded the
outlook for the trade-reliant city-state.    
    The South Korean won, a currency that is
sensitive to trade developments out of China, gained 0.2 percent
to 1,124.1 per dollar. 
    On Thursday, the won slid as much as 0.9 percent after the
country's central bank kept rates unchanged as expected, but a
dissenting vote on the seven-member board appeared to raise the
chance of a rate hike in the coming months.
    "The won will be the go-to trade on the escalation of trade
war tensions, but in the meantime, the RMB complex will continue
to dictate the pace of play," said Stephen Innes, head of
trading APAC at Oanda.
    The region's worst performer this year, the Indian rupee
, strengthened 0.2 percent to 68.42 to the dollar,
marking an end to a week which saw oil prices ease as well as
weaker-than-expected inflation growth.
    Annual consumer prices rose 5 percent in June,
a five-month high, bolstering the chance the central bank will
again raise interest rates at its next policy meeting in August.

    "Upside risks to inflation and a need to maintain financial
markets' stability will keep monetary policy on a tightening
bias," wrote Radhika Rao, an economist with DBS. 
    tmonth in which inflation was higher than the Reserve Bank
of India's medium-term target of 4 percent.
    For a country that imports about 80 percent of its crude oil
requirements, a heavy fall in oil prices helped support the
rupee's weekly gain.
 Change on the day at 0533 GMT                          
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    112.620     112.55        -0.06
 Sing dlr                     1.364       1.3630        -0.05
 Taiwan dlr                   30.525      30.542        +0.06
 Korean won                   1124.100    1125.9        +0.16
 Baht                         33.240      33.26         +0.06
 Peso                         53.500      53.393        -0.20
 Rupiah                       14375.000   14375         +0.00
 Rupee                        68.420      68.57         +0.22
 Ringgit                      4.038       4.0395        +0.04
 Yuan                         6.672       6.6730        +0.01
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    112.620     112.67        +0.04
 Sing dlr                     1.364       1.3373        -1.94
 Taiwan dlr                   30.525      29.848        -2.22
 Korean won                   1124.100    1070.50       -4.77
 Baht                         33.240      32.58         -1.99
 Peso                         53.500      49.977        -6.59
 Rupiah                       14375.000   13565         -5.63
 Rupee                        68.420      63.87         -6.65
 Ringgit                      4.038       4.0440        +0.15
 Yuan                         6.672       6.5069        -2.48
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru
Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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